South Dakota Republican voters were set to choose a nominee for governor Tuesday between the state's attorney general and its lone U.S. representative, handing the winner instant front-runner status for the November general election.
Two political heavyweights — Attorney General Marty Jackley and Rep. Kristi Noem — were locked in a tight GOP primary to succeed outgoing Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who has led the state for two terms but is limited from running again.
The governor contest — the highest-profile matchup on the ballot — started mostly polite but soured at the end as the candidates sought to break out in the neck-and-neck primary. A recent Argus Leader and KELO-TV poll put Noem and Jackley running about even among likely GOP primary voters.
Similar on policy, the candidates tried to contrast their experience. Noem, who would be the state's first female nominee for governor, touted her role negotiating the GOP's recent federal tax cuts with President Donald Trump, casting Jackley as simply a "government lawyer" who would maintain the status quo.
Jackley made himself the homegrown candidate, focusing on his tenure as the state's former U.S. attorney and current attorney general. He painted Noem and Washington as ineffective while touting his "campaign by South Dakotans for South Dakotans."
Ads from Noem in the final days criticized Jackley for his handling of a case involving a former state agent who received a $1.5 million state settlement after she won a discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. They accused Jackley of being soft in his prosecution of a financial misconduct case involving the EB-5 investment-for-visa program.
Jackley released a spot criticizing Noem's "deceptive attack ads," saying she broke her congressional campaign promises to balance the budget, reduce debt and repeal former President Barack Obama's health care law.
The Republican candidate will have an advantage going into the general election in heavily conservative South Dakota, but Democrats have put forward a strong and well-funded challenger. Billie Sutton, a state senator and former professional rodeo cowboy, has managed to bank cash while Noem and Jackley have fought for the GOP nomination.
This article was written by cool news network.